Ethereum’s successful merge

Ethereum has completed its long-awaited transition to a proof of stake protocol. 

Developers (who were watching in real time) noted the transition went through without any unexpected hiccups. On Thursday, the Ethereum network validated a new block… which means the merge with the new protocol was successful and the blockchain is up and running.

Now that the merge is complete, Ethereum’s network can handle up to 10,000 transactions per second (compared to 30 transactions per second previously). This increased efficiency will help prevent developers from switching to competing blockchains like Solana.

In addition, Ethereum’s energy consumption has plunged dramatically. According to Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, a company that researches the carbon efficiency of cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is now using 99.99% less energy than it did before the merge.

Crypto investors shrug off the good news

Despite Ethereum’s successful transition to a new protocol, Ether (ETH) couldn’t avoid the recent market-wide weakness. Over the past week, ETH plunged roughly 24%… as higher interest rates continue to push investors out of riskier assets. 

I mentioned last week that the August inflation numbers came in hotter than expected… which means we’ll see more interest rate hikes over the coming months. 

As of early Monday, ETH was trading its lowest level since June…

Ethereum to USD Chart
Source: CoinMarketCap

Here’s the good news…

Ethereum’s switch to a proof of stake protocol is a game-changer. Its blockchain is now faster, more efficient, and more scalable… and will bring more projects and developers to Ethereum’s ecosystem.

The future is bright for Ethereum, despite the current market weakness. As I mentioned last week, I’m looking to add a position in Ethereum once inflation slows down… and plan to hold it as a long-term investment.   

Tiger Woods and Tom Brady dive into the NFT space

Tiger Woods and Tom Brady
Source: Golf Week, USA Today Sports

On Monday, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady announced they’re teaming up with the PGA Tour to create an NFT platform that will launch early next year.

The platform will be built by Autograph, an established NFT marketplace for sports-related memorabilia. 

Autograph is already responsible for NFTs linked to at least a dozen high-profile athletes, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, MLB hall-of-famer Derek Jeter, and skateboard legend Tony Hawk.

The PGA Tour NFTs will include a range of content. For example, some NFTs will come in video format, capturing historic moments from major championships. Others will be image-based, focused on some of the greatest players and shots from the PGA Tour. Each NFT will allow fans to own one of their favorite moments in history.

The PGA also said the NFTs will include exclusive digital rewards and special access to PGA Tour events. 

Why this matters 

As I’ve mentioned before, NFTs are more than collectible art. If you think the trend is just a bunch of ugly apes… the truth is that NFTs offer endless possibilities for investors. And we’re seeing a rapid expansion into extremely valuable markets like music and sports. 

Right now, most golf fans probably don’t even know what an NFT is… but the PGA Tour is thinking long-term. Within a year or two, everyone will have heard of NFTs… which opens the door to a massive new opportunity for selling memorabilia.

(Personally, I’m looking to purchase a Tiger Woods NFT once this platform launches. I’ll keep you posted…)

JPMorgan says China’s metaverse economy will be worth $4 trillion

Analysts at JPMorgan released an eye-popping report that contains some crazy projections for China’s future metaverse economy. 

Shanghai, China
Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to analysts at JPMorgan, there are $4 trillion worth of assets in China that could become “digitalized” as the metaverse gets built out.

Even if this estimate is off by 90%, the metaverse market in China will be worth over $400 billion.

Keep in mind, JPMorgan’s projection is longer-term—about 10 years in the future. But China already has a big, growing online gaming economy that generates $44 billion in annual sales… and is set to grow to $131 billion in the coming years. Put another way, much of the infrastructure is in place for the country to build out its own metaverse. 

Follow the money

The metaverse is grabbing tons of attention lately… and for good reason. There are billions—and even trillions—of dollars at stake…

As I mentioned earlier this month, Andreessen Horowitz led a $56 million funding round for a company focused on avatar customization. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Over $120 billion has flowed into the metaverse this year.

This money is coming from many of the biggest, smartest investors in the tech space. They’re betting big on the long-term opportunities the metaverse will create… even as the tech sector goes through a bear market. 

The bottom line

China has 4x the population of the U.S. Plus, it’s already home to some of the world’s biggest software companies. Massive players (like Tencent and Bilibili) have already created special metaverse divisions to capitalize on this trend. The metaverse will be a global phenomenon… and China is one of the biggest markets to watch.  

Got a question about digital assets? Let me know here.

Joe Davide
Joe Davide is a research analyst with a passion for all things crypto. He contributes to Crypto Intelligence, Wall Street Unplugged, and Curzio Crypto. When he’s not researching tokens, NFTs, and metaverse tech, Joe’s usually playing a round of golf.

P.S. JPMorgan isn’t just making crazy predictions about the metaverse… 

It’s one of a handful of corporate giants building exposure to the metaverse by quietly buying up a little-known virtual asset… and Frank wants to give you some for free.

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